There isn’t a day when Colaba’s seafront port near the Gateway of India isn’t filled with a rush of tourists scuttling their way onto various harbour ferries that travel to five different destinations. The Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) estimates an increase of travellers to the Elephanta Caves, Mandwa and Alibaug, all popular tourist destinations, and puts the number of yearly commuters at 26 lakhs, with a projected yearly increase of people by 10 percent. Currently, the jetty isn’t in the best of conditions and yet close to 100 boats and catamarans operate from the Gateway of India every 20 minutes or so, each carrying approximately 100 passengers who climb over crumbling pier steps that are borderline unsafe and scary for first timers.
To meet the growing number of people travelling to-and-fro from the Gateway of India jetty the MMB is set to build a Rs. 100-crore worth jetty located near Radio Club at Apollo Bunder, in south Mumbai. As stated by a senior MMB official to the Times of India, the jetty will include eight berths which will include one that’s exclusively reserved for yacht owners. The project is planned to be completed within two years once all the approvals come through. As the publication reports: “The platform for the jetty, to be built on piles, will come up on a 9,900 square metre area. It will be connected to a 543 metre-long walkway, adjacent to which berths have been earmarked.” MMB also proposed construction of a restaurant and parking place but was denied permission by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA).
“The terminal building will have a waiting area of 5,050 square feet with seating arrangements for 100 people, but it can accommodate 1,000 people at a time,” the official stated to TOI. The construction of the jetty has the potential to generate Rs. 5 crore in revenue per annum estimates the MMB--”there is already demand from yacht owners, who will be willing to pay a fee for berthing their vessels at the jetty. The passenger traffic too is expected to increase.”
“The state plans to build Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj memorial in the Arabian Sea. The state government officials have told us that there will be a lot of VIP guests visiting this memorial and hence, they need a lounge exclusively for VIP’s. We have made a provision for this,” said the official referring to the plan of constructing a VIP lounge as well as a medical centre and sewage treatment plant at the jetty terminal. Having received approval ‘in-principle’ from the Navy and the Mumbai Port Trust the proposal has now been forwarded to the Ministry of Environment and Forest; MMB will also need the ‘go ahead’ from the Archaeological Survey of India. The construction of MMB’s Rs. 100 crore serves as the next level of growth for our waterways which will not only ease the congestion of the site but also better the existing infrastructure and turn it into a beacon for tourists who in-turn feed the local economy.
Feature image courtesy of LMC Architects